Unless you’re an ace draftsperson or prefer to work directly on a surface, enlarging a design without tracing can be a chore, even for some Old Masters. Vermeer, for one, is believed to have used a camera obscura as an aid to drawing, and look at how well his paintings turned out! You too can get great results with the aid of a projector, today’s equivalent of Vermeer’s device. These machines come in two formats, analog and digital. The latter requires the initial step of scanning your design into a computer, but with an analog model, you can directly enlarge a photo, illustration, or original rendering. So, whether it’s for a canvas or a wall mural, an analog projector lets your art live large with minimum fuss. Find out which one is right for you in our list of recommendations.
1. Artograph Opaque Prism Series Projector
This top-loading machine opens to reveal a flat 7-by-7-inch glass copy area that can accommodate paper, books, and even three-dimensional items. A reversible lens, ranging from 80 percent reduction to 20X enlargement, combines with 500 watts of illumination to create sharp, bright images in full color, while original artwork is protected from heat damage with fan cooling and a thermal overload circuit. A dark room is required for best results.
2. Artograph Tracer Opaque Art Projector
Need something small, light, portable, quiet, built to last, and simple to use? Autograph’s Tracer projector is just the thing. It works by sitting it atop a photo or drawing that measures no more than 5 by 5 inches and can project an image at 2X to 14X enlargement. If you need to reproduce something larger, you can divide your design into sections. A 200 mm optical glass lens and 23-watt fluorescent lamp (or optional 1600 lux LED) deliver color-neutral optics that stay sharp at every magnification.
3. Artograph EZ Tracer
If you’re on a tight budget, the EZ offers a lot of the same options as the pricier Tracer model. It’s just as small and portable as the Tracer and uses the same fluorescent lamp or LED. But the copy area is 4 inches square instead of 5, and the lens is smaller, so it can only enlarge an image up to 10 times the original. And a bulb is not included. Even so, it’s good value for the money.
4. Apollo Horizon 2 Overhead Projector
If the Horizon 2 overhead projector takes you back to high school or college, that’s because it was created for classrooms. It shines light up and through an original image or text in order to project it on a wall, so you’ll need to use transparencies. Does that mean you should pass on this model if you’re an artist? Not necessarily. With a 10-by-10-inch stage glass surface area, double Fresnel lens, and a 2000-lumen light output, it can throw big, bright, sharp images from large originals.
5. Apollo V3000M Open Head Overhead Projector
If you’re looking for an overhead projector with a little more oomph, consider this step up from the Horizon 2. Packing a bulb with half again as much output as the Horizon 2, the V3000M also has a larger glass staging surface measuring 11.25 square inches. An open head design and double Fresnel lens provide edge-to-edge sharpness and brightness. And just as you can with the Horizon, you can use a marker to make changes on the spot—and this model throws in one for free.